Amersfoort, 27 September 2019 - VolkerWessels announces that it has reached an agreement with the Dutch Union of Forest Groups and FSC® Netherlands for the climate-proofing of at least 500 hectares of forest in the Netherlands over the next two years. Smart measures will be implemented to enable the forests to sequester more carbon dioxide and make them more resistant to the effects of climate change. Eventually VolkerWessels plans to use the timber harvested from these forests in its construction projects.
Up to 100,000 euro for new planting and maintenance
VolkerWessels is investing up to 100,000 euro in climate-smart forestry. The amount consists partly of a fixed contribution from VolkerWessels and partly of a doubling by VolkerWessels of voluntary contributions by employees. The Dutch Union of Forest Groupswill spend the money on three FSC-certified forests in various parts of the Netherlands, implementing measures that will increase carbon sequestration by these forests, enhance biodiversity and also give a positive boost to the forests’ amenity value. Examples of such measures include the promotion of natural rejuvenation, underplanting with species that improve soil fertility and introducing varieties that are expected to be more resistant to climate change.
VolkerWessels director of CSR Lars van der Meulen said: “Material use and carbon emissions are inherent to construction and have a considerable impact on the natural environment. Sustainable use of materials, including the use of timber from well-managed forests (1), is therefore a spearhead for us at VolkerWessels. By contributing to climate-smart forestry we are committed to sustainable timber production in the Netherlands and the sequestration of carbon dioxide, thus making a genuine contribution to a healthier, sustainable living environment.”
(1) VolkerWessels is a partner of FSC Netherlands and has set itself the target of using only sustainable timber by 2020 (2018: 98%). In 2019 VolkerWessels came fourth in the FSC Forest50, a ranking of companies that procure and apply sustainably certified timber.
Urgent need for climate-smart forestry
Gerard Koopmans, FSC group manager of the Dutch Union of Forest Groups, says there is an urgent need forclimate-smart forestry. “We are seeing a rapid deterioration in the quality of our forests, for example as a result of the drought in the last few years. Varieties such as ash, spruce but also larch are dying on a massive scale. Dutch forests need tree varieties that are more resistant to drought, but also species such as small-leaved lime and hazel, which promote the formation of humus (thus providing a buffer against drought) and play an active role in the supply of nutrients.”
For the three parties involved it is important to have certainty on the actual impact of the measures and hence that the money is well spent. The FSC label provides certainty that the forest is managed sustainably. Moreover FSC has developed a method that can demonstrate that measures are producing the desired effect, such as increased carbon sequestration by the forest or a boost to biodiversity. This allows VolkerWessels to draw well-founded conclusions regarding the effectiveness of the project.
About the Dutch Union of Forest Groups
The Dutch Union of Forest Groups is the umbrella organisation of the forest groups: independent cooperatives of and for owners of forests and nature areas. The Forest Groups advise and assist their members in the sustainable management of forests and natural resources.
About FSC Netherlands
FSC Netherlands focuses on promoting and increasing demand for FSC-certified products on the Dutch market. In doing so FSC Netherlands aims to increase the total global acreage of sustainably managed forest. Furthermore FSC Netherlands brings together market and other parties that seek to invest in afforestation and climate-smart forestry.